Cruise ships try to avoid storms

How dangerous is a severe storm for a cruise ship?

From TRAVELBOOK | March 25, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

The terrible scenes that took place on March 23rd and 24th on the Norwegian cruise ship “Viking Sky” will probably never be forgotten by the 1,373 people on board. The ship was in distress on Saturday off the coast of Norway due to a storm. Fortunately, all 915 passengers and 458 crew members were rescued. TRAVELBOOK explains how dangerous a severe storm can be for a cruise ship.

After the "Viking Sky" had been on the north-west coast of Norway for more than a week, the cruise ship got into distress on Saturday due to a violent storm. How i.a. BILD reports that all the machines on the ship had failed. In waves several meters high, the “Viking Sky” drifted towards the cliffs on the Norwegian coast and threatened not only to collide, but even to run aground. Meanwhile, the 1,373 people on board feared for their lives for hours. As photos and videos from the cruise ship show, a number of objects such as tables and armchairs had flown around on the ship due to the strong waves.

According to various media reports, 500 passengers were brought ashore by helicopter. All other passengers and crew members then arrived on Sunday afternoon in the safe harbor of the Norwegian town of Molde, where the ship, after it had been driven again, had been pulled by tugs. 27 people will be treated in hospitals by Sunday evening. Other passengers were traumatized and looked after by the Red Cross. The "Viking Sky" belongs to the shipping company "Viking Ocean Cruises" based in Switzerland.

Can a cruise ship capsize due to a storm?

Meter-high waves, wind speeds of more than 120 km / h - cruise ships can get into such severe storms, but how dangerous is it? When there is a severe storm at sea, it can get quite choppy on board a cruise ship. It is not uncommon for passengers to get scared. But can a severe storm cause such a large ship to capsize and sink? The answer: no.

"Modern large cruise ships are designed so that heavy seas or a storm cannot capsize the ship," explains Peter Hackmann, spokesman for Meyer Werft in Papenburg, where large cruise ships are regularly built.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) confirms this to TRAVELBOOK: “Cruise ships are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions at sea. At the same time - whenever possible - we try to avoid bad weather. "

"Nobody has to fear for life and limb"

Hackmann knows that all ships could straighten up even if they were inclined at 40 degrees. "Nobody has to fear for life and limb."

However, a ship can still be damaged. Windows can burst and objects fly around. A calm and comfortable sea voyage is only possible to a limited extent with a wind force of 12 or 20 meter waves, says Hackmann. Guests may have difficulty moving about on board without tripping or falling. However, thanks to satellites and modern meteorology, the weather can be reliably forecast over a period of around 24 hours, explains Hackmann. In this way, a ship can usually avoid a storm in good time.

Also interesting: 9 things to avoid on a cruise

In 2008 there were 42 injured on the Pacific Sun

From Live Leak, Facebook, Youtube or other channels, many are familiar with the recordings from 2008, which show the cruise ship Pacific Sun in a precarious situation around 650 kilometers off the New Zealand coast. The ocean giant is tossed back and forth by the monster waves like a toy boat. It was correspondingly turbulent inside: 42 people were injured at the time.

Now such scenes were happening again, this time off the coast of Norway. Fortunately, the “Viking Sky” is now in port and the people are safe.

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